Remember when Trump once said he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it? Now, he’s suggesting something similar, but about social media app TikTok. President Trump is saying he’s going to let Microsoft buy TikTok and the Treasury should get a cut of the profits.
White House reporters revealed on Monday that the President told them his administration will ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok by September 15th if it isn’t sold to a US company prior to that date. The app’s ties to Chinese data collection and widespread censorship has had it in the hot seat for months now, and the Trump administration’s decision could see it banned in America permanently. Trump has reportedly expressed approval for Microsoft to acquire TikTok, which was the most downloaded app of 2019, allowing the app to remain in use.
According to Microsoft, they are already in the works of negotiating a deal with Beijing parent company ByteDance, and they plan to finalize an agreement with them by the September deadline. The potential deal would only include the US-based portion of users. The rest of the app would still belong to ByteDance.
Microsoft said in a statement that “During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”
Critics of the deal say that Microsoft can’t make TikTok successful, citing their Skype acquisition as an example of a bad purchase that resulted in limited growth. While Microsoft may seem like an unlikely buyer for a social media outlet, their stocks are up about 33% this year and are reportedly set to hit a $1.6 trillion market cap this year, perhaps positioning them quite well to delve into a new space.
Trump allegedly told reporters on Monday that although he approves of a Microsoft deal, he expects that the US Treasury will receive a cut of the deal. The President clarified, “I did say that if you buy it, whatever the price is that goes to whoever owns it, because I guess it’s China essentially … I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” he said.
Details remain unclear, however, some speculate a Treasury payment could be in the form of taxes paid on the sale.
Although the price tag on the deal is yet to be determined, Reuters reports that TikTok investors value the entire app at $50 billion, which is much less than the other major social media outlets. However, with about 100 million US users, the app is expected to continue growing exponentially.
This comes after the President was seriously considering a national ban of the app due to security concerns that China is stealing user data and violating privacy. The US Senate has already passed legislation banning government officials from using the app.
While this is all great news for the teenagers across America who love this app, is it good to expand Microsoft’s (a.k.a. Bill Gates’) reach into the social media space?
A Microsoft deal seems counterproductive to American capitalism. We should be breaking up already all-powerful monopolistic conglomerates, not giving them even more power.
Bill Gates owns Microsoft, which is basically the internet as we know it, but he also owns coronavirus vaccine patents and runs pandemic exercises. This is the same guy who is part of many conservative conspiracy theories revolving around mandatory vaccines, global domination, and sketchy medical practice in Africa.
As the saying goes, I wouldn’t trust him farther than I could throw him, let alone let him in my phone – when I have a choice. Even if Microsoft does strike a glorious deal with TikTok giving the Treasury part of the deal, it won’t be enough to get me on that app.